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Open Type Dialog - Small Things Make a Big Difference

· Java Zone

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I'm a big fan of attention to detail when creating tooling for developers. Our brains are tuned to notice the smallest perceptible visual clues. We can absorb a lot of information with the right visual cues, however presenting that information without adding clutter to an IDE is a real challenge.

The JDT team has managed to improve the Open Type dialog in Eclipse 3.5 without falling into the trap of a cluttered interface:

Notice how a bold font is being used to identify regions of text that match the filter. The JDT team is using a new platform feature where multiple fonts can be used in one cell. Here's what it used to look like:

The best thing about this new feature is that my brain doesn't have to work harder to know more -- it's immediately evident to me which matches are better and why without having to think about it.

The importance of eliminating and minimizing visual noise is evidenced by products such as Mylyn that are designed to do just that: filter out what you don't need.

Kudos to the JDT team for raising the bar. I can't wait for Eclipse 3.5 Galileo to be released this summer.

From http://greensopinion.blogspot.com/

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